Excellence Award Winners Named at NTCA Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO

For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Withers, 703-351-2087, lwithers@ntca.org 

Arlington, Va. (February 10, 2017)—NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association recognized six rural telecommunications industry leaders for their achievements and service to the telecommunications industry, during the Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO in San Diego, Calif.

The recipients of the 2016 NTCA Excellence Awards are:

Chris Schroeder, chief executive officer and managing partner of TCA (Colorado Springs, Colo.), received the Associate Member Outstanding Achievement Award for his hard work and devotion to advocating for rural telecommunications issues for 30 years. He has supported the industry through serving multiple terms on the NTCA Rural Broadband PAC Board and the NTCA Smart Rural Community program, and representing Colorado on legislative initiatives as the Colorado State Representative. Schroeder also organized NTCA Rural Broadband PAC donor campaigns resulting in significant increases in contributions from the state of Colorado. 

The staff of New Lisbon Telephone Co. (New Lisbon, Ind.) received the Key Employee Award for their dedication and focus on teamwork and for providing excellent customer service during the company’s rapid growth. The staff experienced many changes including large increases in the number of employees and customers, acquisitions and major fiber buildouts in their ILEC and CLEC territories.

Eric Cramer, CEO and general manager of Wilkes Telephone Membership Corp. (Wilkesboro, N.C.), received the Management Innovation Award for his leadership in pursuing and achieving growth and profitability at a time when others in the industry were struggling. He was instrumental in growing the company through fiber builds, acquiring stimulus grants and low-interest loans, and leading company acquisitions and partnerships to maximize revenues and minimize costs. Under his leadership, Wilkes Telephone began offering security and video services, and expanded its broadband speed capacity while maintaining its count of traditional access lines.

Kim Simpson, sales and marketing division manager of KPU Telecommunications (Ketchikan, Alaska), received the Outstanding Marketing Achievement Award for her leadership and dedication in advancing KPU and building its brand. Simpson led the company’s strategic change toward hosted IP systems in 2009. The early entry into hosted IP systems positioned the company as an industry leader and authority on hosted IP services years ahead of its local and regional competitors. Simpson was also key to the successful launch of KPU’s Verizon Wireless Store.

Lee Logan, board president at West Carolina Rural Telephone (WCTEL; Abbeville, S.C.) received the Director Life Achievement Award for his leadership in expanding WCTEL business offerings to full fiber-to-the-home and establishing WCTEL as the first NTCA Certified Gig-Capable Provider in South Carolina. Logan has served on the boards of several community and industry nonprofits, including the Foundation for Rural Service. He has devoted his time to serving in the volunteer fire and rescue, and he led a small town revival as mayor of his hometown Due West, S.C. 

Lyman Horne, Jr., executive vice president and general manager of Star Communications (Clinton, N.C.) received the Manager Life Achievement Award for his leadership and commitment to serve his company, community and industry. Horne began his career in the telecommunications industry in 1980 with Star Communications. He quickly rose through the ranks at the company, serving in various positions.  He was instrumental in ensuring continued business success for the company and led the integration of Cox Cable into Starvision, the company’s cable service. Horne oversaw the complete digital conversion of the entire system from 2001-2008. He led the expansion of the company’s offerings to include full fiber-to-the-home, home security suite and DVR services. Horne’s commitment to serve extends to several community development and charity boards over the years, lending his leadership to churches, schools, colleges, associations and foundations. Horne has advocated on behalf of the industry for years, serving on the board of the North Carolina Telecommunications Industry Association and testifying in front of the FCC. He served as board member for the Foundation for Rural Service for three years and was a member of the NTCA resolutions committee.

NTCA’s Excellence Awards are selected by the association’s awards committee comprised of NTCA members. NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield presented the awards during the 2017 Rural Telecom Industry Meeting & EXPO Awards Banquet on February 8.

More information about NTCA Awards Programs is available online.

Watch the awards presentation on Facebook.


NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing more than 800 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of exploding technology, deregulation and marketplace competition, NTCA’s members are leading the IP evolution for rural consumers, delivering technologies that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development and commerce, education, health care, government services, security and smart energy use. Visit us at www.ntca.org.